San Francisco in San Francisco City and County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)
The Alaska Packers
The Star of Alaska noses along with a brisk wind filling her canvas, Said to be the fastest windjammer of the fleet, she made the trip from San Francisco to Bristol Bay, Alaska, in fifteen to twenty days. Christened Balclutha in 1886, the big steel-hulled ship sailed around the horn seventeen times before the Alaska Packers bought her for $500 in 1904 when she ran ashore on a reef near Kodiak Island. Worth about $50,000 when salvaged and repaired, and given the name Star of Alaska, she sailed for the Alaska Packers when they operated twenty-three canneries in
Axel Widerstrom recalls shipboard life as a cabin boy on the Star of France, when his father, Captain John Widerstorm, was master. "On board the Star of France in 1918 - before she got stuck in the ice. There was a lot of trouble that year - the Italians complained about the food. They wouldn't eat in the mess room, instead, they insisted on eating out on deck, as you can see here. All kinds of food was thrown overboard - mush, bread, bacon, salt beef, salt pork. They demanded fresh meat: the old man told the they could have dog." Later Captain Widerstorm found out that the man responsible for buying provisions bought the cheapest food he could find and pocketed the difference. He never sailed with Captain Widerstorm again.
Fishing started in the middle of June, and the boats would be busy all July - it would be the first part of August before they were called back. Fishing crews worked two to a boat to handle the nets and pick the fish out. When their boat filled with salmon -
Once a day they would sail over to a bunk-scow, anchored in the river, to get a hot meal, pick up supplies and water - but they slept in their fishing boats. These are Scandinavian; you can tell by the way they unstepped their masts to rig small tents.
The Alaska Packers' fleet winters at Alameda in the Oakland estuary - it was the last large commercial sailing fleet out of San Francisco - operating from 1893 until 1929, when the last sailing ships went north.
(on the back of the pylon)
George Skofield, a wooden ship • James A. Borland, a wooden bark • Will A. Case, a wooden bark • Nicholas Thayer, a wooden bark • Merom, a wooden ship • Llewelyn J. Morse, a wooden ship • Prosper, a three-masted wooden schooner • Oriental, a wooden ship • Sterling, a wooden ship • Bohemia, a wooden ship • Levi J. Burgess, a wooden ship • Santa Clara, a wooden ship • Carondolet, a three-masted wooden ship • Eclipse, a wooden ship
Erected by San Francisco Art Commission for the Waterfront Transportation Projects.
Location. 37° 46.994′ N, 122° 23.277′ W. Marker is in San Francisco, California, in San Francisco City and County. Marker is on The Embarcadero near Brannan Street, on the right when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 675 The Embarcadero, San Francisco CA 94105, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Building the Seawall (within shouting distance of this marker); Fremont Street (within shouting distance of this marker); Remnants of Rincon Hill (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); The Oriental Warehouse (about 400 feet away); Brannan Street (about 600 feet away); Townsend Street (about 600 feet away); Beale Street Wharf (about 600 feet away); Whaling Out of San Francisco (about 700 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in San Francisco.
More about this marker.
Related marker. Click here for another marker that is related to this marker. The "Star of India"
Also see . . . Alaska Packers' Association. The APA is perhaps best remembered for operating one of the last fleets of tall ships. Although this invoked the romance of the days of sail, reliance on wind rather than steam was a way for the company to economize. The salmon packing industry was a very seasonal business and old sailing ships were relatively cheap and available. Shortly after the turn of the 20th century, the APA began to replace its wooden ships with iron-hulled vessels... (Submitted on March 9, 2016, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California.)
Categories. • Industry & Commerce • Waterways & Vessels •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on March 9, 2016, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California. This page has been viewed 288 times since then and 26 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on March 9, 2016, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California.